Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

There are many issues that will pose challenges for injury prevention and compensation in coming years. We’ll continue to support all industries to improve injury prevention and return to work outcomes; however we’re putting extra focus on high risk sectors such as health care and fishing. We’re focused on these strategic goals:

Injury Prevention

The WCB concentrates on promotion and education to advance Nova Scotia’s workplace safety culture. In collaboration with workplaces we are striving to create safer workplaces and eliminate workplace injuries and fatalities so all Nova Scotians can live in a province where being injured at work is a thing of the past.

The WCB collaborated with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and stakeholders to create the Workplace Safety Strategy for Nova Scotians 2013-2017. This strategy, which calls for action from all workplaces, will guide the WCB’s injury prevention efforts until its completion. In essence, the Workplace Safety Strategy is a sub-strategy that complements and supports this strategic plan.

Over the next five years we will:

  • Complete the WCB’s commitments in the Workplace Safety Strategy for Nova Scotians 2013-2017. This strategy was developed based on discussions amongst hundreds of workers, employers, safety associations, educators, partner agencies and others who are determined to make Nova Scotia the safest place to work in Canada.
  • Continue to strengthen our relationship with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and advanced education, and collaborate with workers and employers, as we live up to the commitments we have made in this strategy.
  • Work with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and stakeholders to define further actions that are needed to advance Nova Scotia’s workplace safety culture beyond 2017.

Return to Work

Workers and employers benefit from safe and timely return to work. Early intervention and maintaining the worker-employer relationship help speed recovery, while helping employers retain trained and skilled staff. Work itself can be therapeutic – physically, psychologically and socially.

Some best practice workplaces in Nova Scotia have moved beyond the more traditional return-to-work model and now focus on "stay at work". Others are still growing in their understanding and adoption of return-to-work principles and practices. For some workers, the nature of their injury means returning to work may not be an option. For these longterm benefit recipients, the WCB provides compassionate, caring services to support injured workers in maintaining their quality of life and meeting their specialized needs.

Regardless of where a worker or employer falls on this return to work spectrum, the WCB is there to assist in achieving a successful and appropriate outcome following a workplace injury.

Over the next five years we will:

  • Analyze our return-to-work program, and how it is implemented, to ensure our programs and services reflect best practices and appropriately address emerging issues such as mental health and an aging population.
  • Work with workers and employers to continue to advance the focus on return to work in Nova Scotia.
  • Continue to support our employees to enhance their skills and competencies.
  • Ensure caseworkers deliver high quality and consistent decisions that are easy for workers and employers to understand.
  • Advance collaborative approaches to resolving appeals more quickly.
  • Explore how to leverage social marketing to inspire cultural change within workplaces with regard to return to work, as we have seen with injury prevention.

Progress to Full Funding

When the WCB achieves full funding, targeted between 2019 and 2023, a conversation about rate and benefit levels can begin. Lowering claims costs through injury prevention and return to work, along with prudent financial management of the WCB’s investment portfolio are critical components of the WCB’s funding plan.

Toward the end of this strategic plan we will:

  • Engage stakeholders in defining and agreeing to what “financial stability” for the WCB means. Through this discussion, we will determine when it may be appropriate to recommend changes to workers’ compensation benefits and employer assessment rates.
  • Once the timing is established, collaborate with government and stakeholders to define a process to identify and prioritize which changes to benefits and rates may be possible and appropriate.

Strategic Relationships

By collaborating with organizations who are interested in advancing Nova Scotia’s workplace safety culture, the WCB helps to share and leverage ideas, resources and expertise. By working together, we can achieve much greater outcomes than any one organization working alone.

Establishing strong strategic relationships will help to create new opportunities to expand the commitment to workplace health and safety and return to work across the province.

Over the next five years we will:

  • Continue to strengthen relationships with key partners such as the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, employers, industry and safety associations, unions and the OHS advisory council; and
  • Engage more partners in workplace health and safety and return to work through intentioned outreach to the community.

Modernization

Like many organizations, the WCB is faced with the complexities associated with keeping pace with employer and worker service expectations. Some of our systems are paper-based and outdated.

Technology is changing how Nova Scotians work, and the WCB must adapt to this change as well – stakeholders have said this is important and necessary. Technological advances will also allow the WCB to have greater agility and responsiveness and redefine how we deliver our services.

Over the next five years we will:

  • Modernize our organization by leveraging technology. This will mean increased options for how we deliver service, including new online services, to make it easier for workers, employers and service providers to connect with us.
  • Recognizing that investments in technology can be costly and complex, we will prioritize initiatives to focus on areas that have the greatest impact on our long-term goals.